Thursday, May 07, 2009

Why are frequent churchgoers more likely to support torture?

From CNN via Crooks and Liars:

The poll finds that of more than half of Americans who attend church services at least once a week, 54 percent say the use of torture is often or sometimes justified.

Only 42 percent of people who seldom or never go to church agree…

Evangelical Protestants are the religious group most likely to agree; while people unaffiliated with any religious group are least likely to support torture.

More here, with video.

In one sense, this seems counter intuitive. I mean, church goers follow the philosophy of Jesus, who said "love your enemies" and "let he who is without sin throw the first stone," among other things. Such philosophical maxims seem completely incompatible with torture.

On the other hand, church goers also believe that Hell is right and good, and that all human beings deserve to go to there when they shed their mortal coils--only Jesus worship can alter this fated destiny, and only for certain select individuals at that. And what is Hell but the universe's greatest and most horrific torture chamber? I mentioned this recently on Easter Sunday, but it is well worth repeating: being a Christian necessarily means believing that there is an important and righteous place in the moral order for torture. That is, the flip side to "love thy neighbor" is that God will brutally and eternally torture thy neighbor for you when the time is right.

In short, and in spite of all that Christian love and charity, Christianity is a religion that celebrates torture. When you look at it that way, it is no surprise at all that church goers support torture and people who sleep in on Sundays do not. It also tends to explain the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the Catholic pedophilia scandal, and a whole lot more.

Just shoot me if you ever hear I've started going to church again.